Margaret Layton is deeply worried that ex-husband and author Richard Harris will publish a trashy novel because of its affect on their daughters. When she visits him, she is overheard threatening to kill him and fires a gun in his desk.
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Author Richard Harris has created something of a firestorm with his tell-all book about life in a Los Angeles suburb. Billed as an entirely true, real-life story, he has told the world about affairs, drunkenness and the residents other peccadilloes. Perry Mason has been hired by a group of those affected to either stop publication of the book or have the publisher change the marketing campaign but Harris, for one, won't hear of it, even after the publisher settles with Perry. Particularly concerned is Margaret Layton, who was once married to Harris who is the father of her children. She's afraid they will learn of their past and pleads with Perry to do something about it. She visits Harris at his home to plead with him. She is overheard by Harry Collins threatening to kill Harris. When she sees a gun in the desk drawer, she grabs it and pulls the trigger shooting into the desk. When Harris is found shot dead, Margaret is charged with murder. Written by
Funny how the dirt about one small area in a big city can become a national pastime.
Psychiatrists have a couple fo ten-dollar words for it. Emotionally disenfranchised.
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Perry Mason is representing the small community of Cliffside which has just been made the target of a racy novel by Michael Pate. It's a kiss and tell memoir painting the town to be west coast version of Peyton Place. And the good citizens of Cliffside have retained Raymond Burr so that their secrets are not spilled to the world.
But Peggy McCrary has a special secret, she's a bit puritanical and doesn't trust the good judgment of her kids. She was once married to Pate and gave the kids the name of her second husband and she doesn't want her girls to find out they come from the seed of a rat.
But rats have more than one enemy and Pate has his usual collection, the same as any victim in a Perry Mason story. Just publishing a Peyton Place novel guarantees that. It turns out to be a surprise perpetrator, a character you thought of as peripheral.
When you can't figure the perpetrator, it's the sure sign of a good Perry Mason.
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